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Fruit of the Loom earns Sonoco Sustainability Star Award
Feb '12
Sonoco Recycling Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonoco and one of the largest packaging recyclers in North America, announced that Fruit of the Loom's Palmetto Distribution Center, located in Summerville, S.C., has received a gold-tier Sonoco Sustainability Star Award for going landfill free.

“This is something we are very proud of,” said Jay Medlin, plant manager, Palmetto Distribution Center, Fruit of the Loom. “I challenged my team with the goal of going landfill free, and every employee in our facility has worked to help us hit our goal. From the early environmental education to the impact on daily operations, we could not have accomplished this without them.”

In announcing Fruit of the Loom's achievement, Ray Howard, general manager, Sonoco Recycling, said, “Fruit of the Loom has demonstrated a strong commitment to preserving our planet's natural resources, focusing on sustainability as an effort vital to the success of their business and their communities. We are honored to present them with a gold-tier sustainability award for this impressive achievement.”

To achieve landfill-free status, the Palmetto Distribution Center created a Green Team and began working on what they called their “Green on Green” initiative. The Green Team focused on making sure all recyclable materials, such as cardboard, baled stretch wrap, miscellaneous plastics, cores and office paper were collected by Sonoco Recycling. Fluorescent lights were crushed in a secure manner and sent off for recycling, while batteries were sent for recycling through an approved vendor. The Palmetto Distribution Center also works with vendors to ensure that their pallets are reused internally. The small amount of waste remaining is sent to a local compost facility and garden, or used by a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility.

The team's biggest challenge was food and miscellaneous waste, but it successfully managed to find uses for all waste materials. As of January 2012, the Palmetto Distribution Center has successfully gone from 70 percent landfill diversion in 2010 and 95 percent in 2011 to 100 percent landfill diversion.

Created to recognize customer and Sonoco facilities for achieving significant milestones in landfill diversion and waste stream reduction, the program is composed of three tiers:

•Gold Star Awards, which recognize facilities that have achieved 99 percent landfill diversion;
•Silver Star Recognition, which is awarded to facilities achieving 95 percent landfill diversion; and
•Bronze Awards, which recognize facilities that have made significant waste reduction achievements.

A recycling leader with locations and expertise worldwide, Sonoco Recycling annually collects more than 3 million tons of old corrugated containers, various grades of paper, metals and plastics. In addition, the Company has experts who provide secure, reliable and innovative recycling solutions to residential and commercial customers.

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